Fitness / Gear & Gadgets / Reviews / Running Info

Polar M400 GPS Watch Review!

A month ago, I was eyeing a Polar watch online and when presented with the chance to test out a Polar M400 watch to review, I jumped on the chance!  I am currently using the Garmin Forerunner 610 but it’s been 5 years and I’m starting to itch for a brand new shiny GPS watch!  The Polar M400 I got to test out did not come with the heart monitor unfortunately so I don’t have anything to say about that feature.

Full Disclosure: I was sent this product for review but I was not compensated for it and the watch will be sent back after the review period is over.

I’m a pretty picky person – there are many things I look in a  watch such as shape, size, colour, style, speed of GPS connection, be able to tell me how to get home when I’m lost, and types of features the watch will come with.  So will the Polar M400 meet my expectation?  Let’s take a look!

polar m400 review

Here are the key features listed from the Polar website:

INTEGRATED GPS

With an integrated GPS, M400 tracks your speed, distance, altitude and route. You can view your route on a map in the Polar Flow App or Flow web service after your session. The Back-to-start feature directs you to your starting point. Now you can check out more adventurous routes and explore them safely, knowing that your M400 can take you back to where you started.

TRAINING GUIDANCE

Improve your performance and train towards your goal with the help of Polar’s unique Smart Coaching features.

FINISH TIME ESTIMATOR

Set the distance for your session and M400 will estimate your arrival time to the destination according to your speed.

TRAINING BENEFIT

M400 gives motivating feedback about the effect of your training immediately after your session.

RUNNING INDEX

See how efficient your running is. M400 calculates your Running Index automatically after every run, based on your heart rate and speed data.

PERSONAL BEST

M400 rewards you everytime you reach your best result in average speed/pace, distance or calories.

DAILY ACTIVITY

With an inbuilt accelerometer M400 tracks all your movements 24/7. You’ll get a daily activity goal and guidance on how to reach your goal. M400 also reminds you to get up and move when you’ve been inactive too long.

Setting up the Polar M400

So I’m personally not a fan of setting tech up.  It took me three years to actually install the program made for my other watch and it was a dreadful process that I like to avoid.  However, setting up the Polar M400 was actually extremely simple!

start1

So first, I went on their website and downloaded the Flow Sync program

polar m400 review setup

It took around a minute or two for the download to complete and it was unpacked within seconds!

polar m400 review setup

It then prompted me to create an account which took around 2ish minutes and it led me this!

polar m400 review setup

 

 

After the set up was finished, you get this really cool diary/schedule where after you sync your watch after workouts will tell you what you did on this user friendly interface.

polar m400 review setupEasy peasy lemon squeezy right?

Also, you can customize your training screen online via sports profile.  Unlike my Garmin where I can do it right away on the watch, the Polar requires me to connect my watch to my computer and change the training screen there.

Test Run with the Polar M400

I went on three test runs with the Polar M400 (along with wearing it on a daily basis for the activity tracker)

Activity Tracker

The activity tracker allows you to monitor your daily step count throughout the day, and adds it to your total calorie expenditure.  At the end of the day, you can see how far you’ve walked but it won’t tell you unless you sync up with Polar Flow at the end of the day.  I enjoyed this feature since if you are sitting for too long, it sends you a friendly reminder to get your butt moving!  Something I am very guilty of especially when I’m spending my day studying.  You can see how you’re doing through their progress bar throughout the day and it gives you a suggestion of what you have to do to hit 100% such as go on a 50 minute run.  How considerate! Haha.

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Here’s what the summary looks like when you sync it at the end of the day – for this summary, I used the watch sparingly throughout the day because I was home so you can see how much of my “activity” is from my run.

polar m400 review setup activty tracker

Running

The Polar M400 includes predictive GPS capabilities which help minimizes the time it takes to connect to GPS satellites. In the picture below, you can see how as I’m prepping to go out for my run, the Polar M400 has already connected in my foyer compared to my Garmin.  The speed of GPS is important to me because lets be honest, how hasn’t done the GPS watch arm wave trying to get a satellite connection and felt annoyed as they waited for a it to sync?  It’s a pain in the butt waiting and sometimes when you’re in on a group run, telling everyone to wait for your watch to sync before starting is a little time consuming!

polar m400 review setup

My Polar had already connected before my Garmin

While running you can see your instant pace via GPS, your average pace, and your distance on one page.  You have the option of sticking to that page or going to other ones which can show you your elevation, heart rate, etc.  There’s also a timer option/interval option that you can set up to help you hit those split times!  The Polar M400 is very versatile when on the run!  Similar to my Garmin, it has a Back to Start function which being the directionless runner that I am … helps get me back home if I’ve taken one turn too many.  I love that once you are done your run, it gives you a summary page!  It tells you if it’s your longest distance, faster run, duration, etc.

polar m400 review

Overall Thoughts on the Polar M400

I love it!  It is a great GPS watch that is on par with my Garmin and costs less!  It’s super light so I barely notice that it’s on.  The band is super light and flexible, making it easy to put on and take off. It’s comfortable, stylish, and easy to clean!  It was easy to use, set up, and Polar itself is a fantastic company.  I was confused as to how to get min/km to show up and couldn’t find it on the manual so I actually CALLED their customer service line and it took less than 5 minutes for him to explain it to me (in case you’re wondering, you have to change the units – I set up my height as 5’3″ since I didn’t know it in cm but doing so would put the distance to miles so I had to convert it to metric which converted my height to cms for me).  Considering how when I needed help with my other GPS watch, the other company did not get back to me AT ALL, I was blown away by their amazing customer service.

However, there are some things I dislike about the watch (at first).  Unlike my Garmin, it is not a touch screen which for some people it means there’s one less thing to be concern about breaking but because I was so used to my Garmin, I kept trying to swipe it!  The dislike slowly faded away and I found it less likely to go to a different page like my Garmin when I accidentally touch the screen!

The only real dislike I had actually had nothing to do with the watch. I had downloaded the Polar Flow app on my Samsung Galaxy only to find out that the M400 didn’t sync with it!  I’m sure Polar is working on it but I was pretty bummed out that I didn’t get to test that feature out.

I honestly really enjoyed testing the watch and wish I could keep it but unfortunately I’m only allowed to keep it for so long to test (I’ve grown strangely attached to it!)

Hope you found my Polar M400 review to be helpful!  Do you have a GPS watch? Which one?  Are you in the market for one? Let me know!

EDIT: Some common questions/search terms that pops up for this post is what is the band length for the Polar M400. I measured it from the top of the band to the bottom (watch interface included) and the length is approximately 10 inches.

EDIT 2:  On December 15, 2014, I’ve purchased my own Polar M400 after falling in love with it!

EDIT 3: Yes, you can on the Polar M400, you can delete activity directly from the watch without plugging it in.

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<3 Carmy

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Gear Review Polar M400 Watch. Looking for a new gadget to help keep you in track for the new year or working out? Check out the Polar M400 via www.carmyy.com >> https://www.carmyy.com/polar-m400-gps-watch-review

58 thoughts on “Polar M400 GPS Watch Review!

  1. I love all things polar and am asking Santa for the M400. 😉 I currently use the polar loop & RC3 GPS… the M400 will combine BOTH products in one. 🙂

    • I would love to be able to use the Nike apps but I hate having to turn my data on on my phone then carry it around with me ): I’m on a tight data plan and I don’t want to risk overcharge fees but it feels like everyone on Instagram is using it!

      • Has anyone been able to successfully transfer data from their M400 to Nike+? I’d love to no longer have to carry my phone around, but still be able to see my mileage climb as I use a new device to track my runs.

  2. Great review! That watch is so stylish, I’m immediately drawn to it.
    I like the apparent ease in setting it up and that calendar/diary. I’ve never had a touch screen watch, so I guess I wouldn’t know what I’m missing without that feature 🙂

    • Haha, you’re only missing out of screaming “WHY AREN’T YOU RESPONDING TO MY FINGERS?!” in the winter LOL. It IS very stylish! My coworker complimented me on it the other day and I felt so happy haha (he’s never complimented my Garmin…)

  3. Looks flashy! I bought a new Garmin 910XT last year. (Very $$$) so I have to stick with it for a few years. I absolutely love it though. I like hearing about others because you never know I might need another as a back up! (too bad you have to send it back)

  4. I didn’t realize Polar did GPS+HRM watches now – cool! I had a Polar HRM when I first started running and loved it, but then moved onto a Garmin for GPS functionality. Thanks for the review!

  5. Great review. I’ve been a long time Polar user, currently with a RS800CX and G5 GPS.
    Was looking at the M400 for my wife for Christmas. How did it fit size wise on your wrist? It looks quite big? Also how was the battery life?

    • I loved the size! It’s actually super light too – I keeo forgetting that I have it on. I charged it once when I got it and then once again after 2ish weeks. I used the GPS running option 3 times and indoor timer for 4 before charging it. Hope that helps!

    • I was wondering this as well. What was the battery life on the Garmin? I always forget to charge things, that’s why I haven’t gotten a smart watch yet.

      • Great question. It’s been over a year since I’ve used my Garmin so I don’t remember off the top of my head. It’d be fine for days if it wasn’t in training mode but if I recall correctly, it lasted maybe 3-5 runs ~10K each? I’m not 100% positive though.

  6. Just bumped into this awesome review and now i want to get this watch. My question is silly. I love that nike + app has all of my runs saved and i would hate to start with polar website. Is there a way to add the runs and map routes recorded by the polar watch to my nike +? I also join many nike challenges and adding the runs to the challenges would be a huge plus. Advice? I believe this is possible with garmin watches but really want that polar M400. Thank you. -amy

    • Hi Amy! Not a silly question at all!! Unfortunately I’m not too sure if the two can be synced. I don’t use Nike+ so I’m not too familiar with it. However, their help line is super helpful or even just tweet them! I can see if I can find out any info on that but I can’t promise anything ):

      • Omg thank you so much for looking into this you’re amazing. BIG BUMMER for me but thank you so very much! I still want it but now have something to think about 🙁 thanks so much.

        • Any time!! Definitely keep an eye on the watch! It’s one of those watches where you certainly get the best bang for your buck!

          Let me know what you end up deciding on 🙂

        • Hi Amy, I had the same problem as I used the Nike+ Sportwatch for two years before changing recently to the M400. After a lot of frustration and time spent surfing the Internet I finally found a workaround. There is a webapp that I found on the DCRainmaker site that will convert your Nike+ data into a TCX (?) file,then you can make an account on Strava, which is great, and import all of your old Nike+ data files into Strava, then forget about the Nike+ website, and export you Polar data after each run and import into Strava, everything is now in one place and Strava will let you input your shoes, which Polar does not, allowing you to keep track of your miles/kilometers. Anyways, it is easier than it sounds.
          Cheers, Dean

  7. Thank you for such an in depth honest review.
    DCrainmaker reviewed this product, but I found your review thanks to google. (will add you to my reading list now).
    Your review has definitely help me decide to get this watch. I’m on my 2nd garmin and it’s died. Not impressed.
    So thanks for the review and helping me decide to just get this watch.
    Cheers.

  8. I was lucky enough to get an M400 for Christmas. Replaces my Polar RC3. I love this watch! Can’t wait for the app for Samsung Galaxy S5.

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  10. I found the M400, cumbersome on the wrist, I also found the instructions complicated.
    I would certainly not recommend this unit t anyone, I had to buy another one, as they woulds not give me my money back. so I bought a Fitbit it is so easy to use, and understand

  11. Hi Carmy, it’s to see or read a lady reviewing a product as sometimes I am quiet tired with Male reviews as they get very technical however it does help to get reviews from a male and female. It was by accident I stumbled upon your website. I typed in Nike M400 and got your website.
    Thank you for your review, it will be good to get your thoughts on Ambit 3 from Suunto.

  12. Hi Carmy! I’m from Brazil and I’m going to buy my first watch. The price of Forerunner 610 and M400 is the same at EBay (with HRM bouth), that’s why I’m so in doubt. Please, help me!!! Witch one?!
    Thank you very much! You rocks!!!

    • I actually have a review on both! 🙂 I love both of mine pretty equally so it comes down to what you are looking for. M400 has a daily activity tracker where it logs all your steps whereas the FR610 does not. However, the FR610 can change the training plan with the watch instead of having to plug it into the computer to change it like the M400.

  13. Hi! I love the reviews on the polar M400. However I’m concernes about the wrist band size. I can’t find anywhere the band lenghth is at its max and min. Any help would be great. Thanks!

  14. Thanks so much for your review, Carmy–it’s nice to find a woman’s perspective, since guys’ wrists are so much bigger! I’m actually trying to decide between the M400 and another of Polar’s products, the Loop 2, which is more of an every-day tracker (doesn’t include GPS etc.) My interest in the M400 is for all of its goodies, like the ability to map your route and get more precise data, but I’m afraid it will be too huge as an every-day tracker and sleep tracker. (I’m not yet an exercise/running enthusiast, but I’m hoping whichever tracker I purchase will help motivate me to get going!) What is your opinion? Is the M400 really only best for your work outs, or is it passable for every day wear? Although oversized for women, can it pass as fashionable (in that oversized chunky way) if you wanted to wear a tracker while dressed nicely (say for work, or for going out)? Is it comfortable to sleep wearing it? Thanks for your feedback, I think it will help me with my decision! Glad you like the product so much!

    • I don’t wear it to sleep as I’m very picky about bed time but I do wear it on a daily basis to track my steps. It might be big for some but personally I think it’s the perfect size (as I want to be able to see what’s on the screen clearly). Your best bet might be to check them out to try on in person. I would go with the loop if you don’t plan on using it for stuff like run/bike/swim/etc

  15. Hi!Love your review!Could you tell me your wrist size?Because I have a 5’5 inches wrist and I’m concerned that the watch will be too big for me.Thanks!

  16. Hey! Thanks for the review-very useful! I currently use an old basic HRM/watch and I use the Nike run app on my cell. You can automatically tell Nike you are about to begin a workout and it connects to Facebook and you can get cheers when people like or comment. You may already know that ? Can you do anything similiar with the m400? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Tracie, I’m not 100% sure but I think I saw a facebook post about how the newest update connects you to your social media. I’m not sure but you can always check there ?

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